Decades ago, study abroad programs were primarily reserved for students majoring in a foreign language. Today’s international study opportunities are far more diverse, allowing you to go all over the world to pursue whatever studies interest you. In fact, some international programs have established themselves as great options in certain fields, such as international business, political science and anthropology.
Before you commit to a study abroad program, it’s important to review the details of the program to make sure it’s the best option for you. In addition to making sure your studies will be worth your time, you’ll need to be confident you can cover expenses—both the tuition and the living costs—and that you’re okay missing out on other opportunities on the home front. Take time to arrange visas, make sure your passport is still valid and line up a study abroad insurance policy to cover you in the event of a medical emergency.
Once you’ve taken care of these necessary tasks, your biggest worry is figuring out where you’re going to go.
Dublin is a city with a lot to offer. It’s the educational hub of all of Ireland and offers several schools for students to choose from. The city has also earned the distinction of having more parks and natural spaces within its boundaries than any other city in Europe, making it a highly livable destination. And visitors can get a sampling of European soccer culture at its finest by attending one of the city’s professional matches.
The Netherlands has a strong reputation when it comes to education—within the country are a dozen universities ranked among the world’s 200 best. That’s quite a feat for such a small country, and it gives students all the more reason to take their studies to this part of the world. English speakers will appreciate that many Dutch citizens speak English. If you study in or near Amsterdam, you’ll have access to a destination with more museums per square meter than any other city in the world.
Melbourne is considered to be the cultural capital of Australia, making it a great destination for students looking to travel abroad. It’s been ranked among the most livable cities in the world and is within a day’s drive of Australia’s capital city, Sydney; and the Australian coast is close enough to make a weekend trip to the beach a feasible option. Plus, if you go during the northern hemisphere’s winter months you can catch Australia’s summer and free yourself from winter’s doldrums.
It might come as a surprise to many college students, but Singapore actually has a strong educational system and boasts six national universities. Singapore has plenty of modern amenities to keep Western students comfortable, but perhaps more importantly, it’s a great opportunity for students to gain a better understanding of Asian culture. As India, China and other countries rise to become world powers, this familiarity could be a great asset in a student’s future professional life.
Wellington, New Zealand
Australia’s closest neighbor is a small island nation that’s probably most famous for being the shooting location for the “Lord of the Rings” movies. But New Zealand has much more to offer: It’s a lush, green country offering a variety of outdoor activities. Academically, the country’s government has put a strong emphasis on education in recent years, which is a plus for would-be student travelers. And it’s hard to deny that the New Zealand accent is pretty cool.
It’s important to understand that no two study abroad programs are the same. When you start comparing programs across different countries and continents, they can be dramatically different. Finding the one that best suits your needs and interests will help you get the most out of your experience.